For first time dog owners, one of the most confusing things they often have to face is figuring out how often they should be feeding their new family member. Many worry that they’re feeding their dog too much, or not enough. After all, should you refill your pup’s bowl if she gobbles everything down and cleans her bowl in mere minutes? And making matters even worse is that everyone you talk to about it has a different answer.
If you have ever asked yourself – how often should I feed my dog? , then in this post we hope you’ll finally get the answer that you’ve been looking for.
The Importance of a Regular Feeding Schedule
Dogs are creatures of habits. They do better when they are raised according to a schedule. For instance, if you make a habit of taking your dog outside to go to the bathroom at the same time every day, your dog will eventually learn when her trips outside will occur and this will help make house training her much easier.
The same concept goes with feeding your dog. By feeding your dog at the same time every day, she will antipicate when her feeding times are. This regular routine benefits your dog because it gives her a sense of security. Her feeding schedule can be considered the cornerstone of her daily routine because all her other activities, from bathroom breaks to play time and walks, are based around when she eats.
Creating a regluar routine for your dog will also help her cope more effectively any time there are changes in her life, such as when a child goes off to college or a pet sitter is hired to care for her while the family is away on vacation.
Understanding Dog Stomach Anatomy
Dogs, like humans, have very simplistic stomach anatomy. After eating, a dog’s stomach empties within a few hours as the food makes its way from the stomach and into the small intestine. It will usually take 8 to 10 hours before the stomach starts sending signals to the dog’s brain to stimulate her hunger response.
How Often Should You Feed Your Dog?
Based on how a dog’s stomach anatomy works, most dogs are best served by eating at least two meals per day. Feeding your dog every 12 hours is perfectly suitable, as is feeding her three meals, one each at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The most important things are to feed her the right amount and keep to regular feeding times. This will help your dog’s body prepare for the food that she will be receiving at the right times of day.
How Much Should You Feed Your Dog Per Feeding?
Every dog has different needs when it comes to portion sizes. The best way to determine how much you should be feeding your dog is to ask your veterinarian. When feeding, make sure you measure your dog’s portions using either a measuring cup or kitchen scale. This will help ensure that she’s getting the same amount of food at every feeding.
Is It OK to Let Your Dog Graze?
Many dog owners fill their dogs’ bowls with food and allow them to graze all day long. This isn’t recommended for several reasons. For starters, having all-day access to her food doesn’t allow your dog to develop a routine, and this can make it more difficult to house train her. It removes predictability from her life, and this will make it harder for her to cope with changes in her life.
Another reason why you might not want to let your dog graze is that by feeding your dog on a schedule, it will be easier to identify when her eating habits change. For instance, if a dog normally eats all her food at each feeding but has recently been leaving food uneaten or has stopped eating, it could be a sign that she might have something going on that warrants a visit to the veterinarian. This is something that could be missed if you let your dog graze.
Feeding time is a major event in your dog’s day. As a result, it can double as a valuable bonding time between you and your pet. By creating a routine and sticking to regular feeding times, you can incorporate more fun into your dog’s daily activities.